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Le Samourai (1967)

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville     Starring: Alain Delon Nathalie Delon
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Learn more about Le Samourai:

Format: DVD
Sku: 40723258
UPC: 037429208526
UPC 14: 00037429208526
See more in Sci-Fi/Fantasy
In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays blue-eyed Jef Costello, a fedora- and trench-coat-wearing contract killer with samurai instincts. When Jef assassinates a nightclub owner, he finds himself confronted by a series of witnesses, who drop his perfect world into the hands of a persistent police investigator and Jef's shadowy employer, both of whom are determined to put an end to the smooth criminal. A razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture--with a liberal dose of Japanese lone-warrior mythology--maverick director Jean-Pierre Melville's masterpiece defines cool. Criterion's DVD will also include new video interviews with two Melville historians, a collection of excerpts from archival interviews with Melville, Delon, and others, the trailer, a reprinted tribute by filmmaker John Woo, and more.
Editor's Note
When a stoic, icily professional assassin is witnessed leaving the scene of a nightclub "hit" by a barroom pianist who doesn't let on to the cops, he discovers that he's being set up for something worse than jail. New wave noir from Melville, the tough-guy darling of the "Cahiers du Cinema" crowd. Based on the novel "The Ronin" by Joan McLeod.


Video Features DVD, French, English, Subtitled, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Image
Video Release Date Release Date: 10/25/2005
Video Play Time Running Time: 95 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 1967
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 150
Video UPC UPC: 00037429208526
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: French
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: French
Video Subtitle Available Subtitles: English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Alain Delon
Video Cast Info Cathy Rosier
Video Cast Info Francois Perier
Video Cast Info Nathalie Delon
Video Cast Info Francois de Lamothe - Production Designer
Video Cast Info Francois de Roubaix - Original Music By
Video Cast Info Henri Decae - Cinematographer
Video Cast Info Jean-Pierre Melville - Director
Video Cast Info Jean-Pierre Melville, et. al. - Writer
Video Cast Info John McLeod - Based On Novel By
Video Cast Info Monique Bonnot, et. al. - Editor
Video Cast Info Raymond Borderie, et. al. - Producer

Professional Reviews

Los Angeles Times
"...An austere poem of crime, a fatalistic exercise in myth-making and transcendent style..." 02/27/1997 p.F8

Chicago Sun-Times
"...The film is masterful in its control of acting and visual style....LE SAMOURAI is as finished and polished as a film can be..." 06/08/1997 p.5

Rolling Stone
4 stars out of 5 -- "With minimal amounts of violence but maximum style....Simply, the coolest film ever." 11/17/2005 p.144

New York Times
"Melville's 1968 masterpiece....Minimal dialogue, a spare and moody jazz score and images drained of any color warmer than blue steel contribute to an overwhelming sense of repression and control." 11/08/2005 p.E5

4 stars out of 4 -- "[I]t's a nigh perfectly constructed film, and its finale remains one of the most stunning yet enigmatic twists ever committed to celluloid." 12/01/2005 p.188

James Berardinelli's ReelViews 10 of 10
...Le Samourai is close to perfection. It combines stylish direction, an intelligent script, first-rate performances, and overpowering atmosphere into one of the most tense and absorbing thrillers ever to reach the screen. In trying to identify a film with a similar impact, I'm left grasping at thin air -- nothing quite like it exists in the annals of motion picture history, even when considering the work of Alfred Hitchcock. However, watching Le Samourai makes it obvious that directors like Quentin Tarantino and Brian DePalma are familiar with this particular entry on Jean-Pierre Melville's resume. Its influence upon their work is evident. - James Berardinelli

Chicago Sun-Times 9 of 10
The movie teaches us how action is the enemy of suspense--how action releases tension, instead of building it. Better to wait for a whole movie for something to happen (assuming we really care whether it happens) than to sit through a film where things we don't care about are happening constantly.

Melville uses character, not action, to build suspense. Consider a scene where one of the underworld hirelings calls on Costello, to apologize and hire him for another job, and Jef stares at him with utterly blank, empty eyes. - Roger Ebert

Product Attributes

Product attributeActor:   Melville,Jean-Pierr
Product attributeMusic Format:   DVD
Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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